Maintaining a lawn requires mowing, trimming, fertilizing, and caring for any surprises or problem areas. If you are considering hiring a company to take care of some or all of these tasks for you, here are some questions to ask yourself about what you need from a lawn care company:

What services do you need?

Do you enjoy mowing but need help getting grass to grow near those trees? Maybe you need help with one or two services, or maybe you need a little bit of everything. Most companies offer fertilizing, weed, pest, and disease control, aerating, mowing, and small tree and shrub maintenance, re-seeding, sodding, soil testing, and aerating. Once you decide what services you need, you can consider service specific criteria. For example, if you’re looking for mowing services, think about how frequently you would like the lawn mowed, what your expectations are regarding missed visits, and areas of your lawn that need extra care or caution. Most mowing companies are “mow and go” crews that mow, trim, and blow a lawn quickly and sometimes offer a few additional extras.

Whats the purpose of your lawn?

Is your lawn a place where pets and children play or a lush, green carpet surrounding your home? A yard that experiences daily wear and tear may lead you to make different decisions regarding chemicals or expensive details.

What is your philosophy on chemicals?

Laws differ from state to state but when herbicides, fertilizers and other pesticides are applied to your lawn, they should be done by a licensed professional. Many lawn care companies are learning to include organic and natural alternatives to traditional lawn care. If organic lawn care is the choice you wish to make, look for a company that offers exclusively organic services rather than a company that uses conventional equipment and organic equipment separately, due to the elevated risk of cross-contamination. Be sure to look into a company’s claim to be organic. An organic lawn care company will carry some sort of certification or accreditation proving they have had formal training.

What companies are recommended by people you trust?

Ask friends, neighbors and co-workers about their lawn companies and talk to your neighbors who use lawn services. When you narrow your search down, check with your local Better Business Bureau to find more information on their service record and see if any complaints have been filed against them.

Does the company carry the proper licensing and insurance?

Make sure the lawn service you choose is licensed to apply lawn-care products as required by your state. In many states, persons applying pesticides for hire are legally required to have a valid pesticide applicator’s license issued by the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Pesticide Control. Ask for verification of licenses and proof of liability insurance on file with the state.

Request a lawn inspection and a free estimate of service costs

Once you have determined what you need, seek out several different companies and ask them about their prices and what services are included. Have a representative from each company you are considering, visit your property to determine problems, level of maintenance, and pricing options. Do not accept a general quote over the phone. An employee needs to see your lawn to evaluate what is expected and to address all your issues and concerns. When you do make a final decision, get a copy of your contract and service agreement in writing for future reference.